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The Book of Happiness

3.56 of 5 stars 3.56  ·  rating details  ·  155 ratings  ·  10 reviews
The Book of Happiness is one of the outstanding novels the great Russian writer Nina Berberova wrote during the years she lived in Paris, and the most autobiographical.Such a character is Vera, the protagonist of The Book of Happiness. At the novel's opening, Vera is summoned to the scene of a suicide, that of her childhood companion, Sam Adler, whose family left Russia in ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Published May 1st 2002 by New Directions Publishing Corporation (first published 1995)
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I liked it. Unfortunately by the time I got used to its rhythm, it ended. The part that speaks about Sankt Petersburg is very warm and white, the part that describes Paris reminded me of "Bleu", Kieslowski’s film – the young alienated woman etc.
Oct 05, 2009 Paula rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Paula by: Steve Harris
The Book of Happiness, although apparently written in the 1990s, at the end of Berberova’s long life, reads like a modernist novel of the early 20th century. (Both Virginia Woolf and Dorothy Richardson come to mind). This despite the author’s own references to Russian writers such as Tolstoy, Pushkin, and Garshin as well as to Jules Verne. The Book of Happiness is divided into three sections each of which is an account (although not in any reportorial sense) of a love affair/ relationship. Three ...more
Love and its demands, and its ever changing face at different times in our lives, is the theme of Nina Berberova’s novel The Book of Happiness. Berberova’s novel is set in the early part of the Twentieth Century, a time that has seen Love subjected to the historical — and human individual crushing -- forces of war, politics, and revolution. However, Berberova is willing to see Love’s possibilities -- as long as Love is stripped free of illusion. For Love to exist, it must maintain a balance bet ...more
Torea Frey
This book is quite a lovely little thing. And the following caught my eye:

They had come out of the post office. Karelov licked a corner of the envelope and stuck the stamp on. She was dumbstruck. She had always been uncertain whether to wet her finger or take the gluey stamp in her mouth. And suddenly it all turned out to be so simple: you just had to lick the envelope. She stood there with her mouth open and watched him drop the letter in the mailbox.

Okay, so this is moot now that (a) no one se
The Book of Happiness by Nina Berberova

Perhaps the reason I did not like this book is that the book starts with a suicide and with my new “philosophy” I try to be positive. But it may not be that at all, I simply did not feel the “FLOW” (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). For some time now, I’ve become picky, fussy or just difficult with books. Especially since this book was not recommended to me by any list of best 100 books, friend or site. In the last ten years I have tried to concentrate on and read
Nicholas Lee
"The Book of Happiness" is about the young life of a Russian woman named Vera who after receiving news of the suicide of her only childhood friend Sam, attends. She is unhappily married to someone she cannot love and is desperate to make sense of the her feelings of detachment from a stunted childhood. This is Vera's journey - told in 3 parts with a series of short chapters - where she pursues happiness, determined to burst forth from the unfulfilled past through life, love, and liberty.

*** SPOI
found this on the table at the strand. hooked by the opening, mesmerized by the rest. the story of a russian ex-pat and the three loves of her life: 1) a childhood neighbor in st. petersberg; 2) a sickly man with whom she moves to paris; 3) another russian ex-pat in paris. told in a simple, intense, musical, oblique, emotionally impressionistic voice. kind of reminded me of a cross between ondaatje, james salter, chekhov and tatiana tolstoya. there's a beautiful passage near the end of the novel ...more
I have no problem reviewing older books with good reputations with the enthusiasm of a new mother, because a lot of them just get taken for granted for being wonderful.

The Book of Happiness is closely related to Berberova's three great love affairs, and set in Russia and Paris around WWI. Her sense of humor is so natural, so unpredictable, the smallest interaction feels like the kind of flirtation that would make you fall straight in love with a person. She writes like someone who knows how to
[Y]ou simply have no inkling of how to live any other way. Others will come later, after you, and they will have a completely new way of feeling. Which means there is no experience. Each person starts all over from the beginning.
One of my favorite authors.
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Nina Nikolayevna Berberova was a Russian writer who chronicled the lives of Russian exiles in Paris in her short stories and novels. She visited post-Soviet Russia and died in Philadelphia.

Born in 1901 to an Armenian father and a Russian mother, Nina Berberova was brought up in St Petersburg.[1] She left Russia in 1922 with poet Vladislav Khodasevich (who died in 1939). The couple lived in several
More about Nina Berberova...

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